Earth to House Democrats: Just Pass the Senate Health Care Bill

After last night’s debacle in Massachusetts, the House Democrats have only one thing to do: pass the health care bill the Senate passed last year. This will mean that the Senate does not have to vote again and Brown’s vote on the issue won’t matter. Is the Senate bill a great bill? No. But it is better than nothing. And more importantly, most of the bad parts of it can be amended later this year or next through reconciliation, which only requires 50 votes.

Last time I checked, the Dems still have 59 votes. And for those who think the Dems will get killed in November if they do this, I think you are dead wrong. First, as I have told my dad since I was in college, 6 months is an eternity in politics and the election is 11 months away. Second, the voters are not going to be thinking about the health care bill that was voted on 11 months ago.  Rather, the only thing that is going to matter in November is jobs and the economy. If the Dems do not pass health care and the jobs picture does not improve, they are still going to lose seats. Third, if the dems do not pass health care, liberals are not going to show in November, which will lead to more losses. Finally, what is the point of being a democratic Congressmen if you are not going to vote for health care. You are only goal can’t be to simply win reelection. If you do not do something with your majority there is no point in having one.

And if you need to do something to attract Republicans, here is a suggestion: eliminate the estate and gift tax permanently as part of the bill. They are stupid taxes that do not bring in much revenue (less than $30bn / year). They cause unnecessary spending on lawyers and accountants for the sole purpose of evading the tax. If the republicans still vote against the bill, at least now you have a tax issue also to run on.

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